CHICAGO -- Despite Gov. George Voinovich's pledge to award state contracts on a competitive basis, an Ohio agency recently used a quasi-negotiated process to select underwriters for a $379.1 million housing issue.

But state officials say the unique selection process made the issue's record-low mortgage interest rate possible. That process had prospective senior managers submitting sealed bids on a prototype of the issue, and then negotiating with state officials for the final management and underwriting fees, takedown, and expenses.

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